EXPO Line Safari!

To rebrand the Expo Metro Line and expose the natural world of LA, the Ballona watershed, the Pacific FlyWay and make the ride an adventure.


Please describe yourself.

Proposed collaboration (we want to work with partners!)

In one sentence, please describe your idea or project.

To rebrand the Expo Metro Line and expose the natural world of LA, the Ballona watershed, the Pacific FlyWay and make the ride an adventure.

Does your project impact Los Angeles County?

Yes (benefits a region of LA County)

Which area(s) of LA does your project benefit?

Central LA

South LA


What is your idea/project in more detail?

The Expo line originates in downtown Los Angeles, and then ends in Santa Monica and the Ocean! It travels through inland to coastal climatic zones, and habitat. The Expo Safari line travels the path of the undergrounded braided river bed of Ballona Creek, the drainage conduit to the Ballona Watershed! Tree canopies provide flyways, habitat and bird rest stops that connect the Los Angeles River and Ballona Creek into a continuous system for migrating birds as part of the Pacific Flyway. EXPO Safari will make the “urban wild” visible and provide visual and digital opportunities for riders along the Expo Line to interact with nature and each other as citizen scientists!

What will you do to implement this idea/project?

In the spirit of Safari 7, a self-guided tour of urban animal life along New York City’s No. 7 subway line, UCLA Extension Landscape Architecture Program proposes a natural/urban animal life safari along the Expo Line: Expo Safari! An ecological interpretation of Los Angeles while traveling on the Metro Expo Line. UCLA Extension Landscape Architecture Students and instructors will work with Metro, the Supervisorial Districts, the cities along the Expo line, the school systems, and other partners to create a natural trail experience of the EXPO Metro’s ride from city center to the sea.

The Once and Future Ballona Creek.

The Expo Safari line travels the path of the undergrounded braided river bed of Ballona Creek, the drainage conduit to the Ballona Watershed! The Safari will explain the watershed, its importance, the history of urban development and the resulting filling and reduction of the Ballona Creek and its continuing importance and vibrancy, providing habitat and food for migratory birds.

Urban wildlife is hidden and many creatures live underground, such as possums, rats, raccoons, moles, and snakes. Subways and pipelines provide habitat for much of this subterranean wildlife.

Connections to Exposition Park and the LA County Natural History Museum provide opportunities to explore the natural past of California, and the new Botanical Gardens have wonderful displays of California’s native plants, and ecosystems.

Tree canopies provide flyways, habitat and bird rest stops that connect the LAs River and Ballona Creek into a continuous system for migrating birds. Above ground are shorebirds, waterfowl, songbirds and raptors that feed, rest and winter in Southern California. Ducks, hawks, redwing blackbirds, as well as Canada geese, seagulls and snowy plovers are among the many species of birds that can be seen along Expo Safari as it passes through a portion of the Pacific Flyway.

Making the “urban wild” of LA visible provides opportunities for schools along the Metro Line to interact with nature. To encourage schools and students to participate, “Field Guides” will be developed and an “Expo Safari! Field Guide Book” (mobile app to be developed), containing information and images of the animals and habitat that are along the route and sections for the recording of animals seen and experienced. The field guides will be uploaded to a Facebook page : “Field Work: Expo Safari!”, that will showcase citizen scientists discoveries.

How will your idea/project help make LA the best place to CONNECT today? In 2050?

So much of Los Angeles has displaced nature in the development of the metroplex. There are many opportunities to show the layers of LA, the past, the underground or unseen, the other creatures that call Los Angeles home. Taking a transportation route and exposing the scenic and natural processes enriches the experiences of the riders, and the understanding of the natural world where we live.

Using the Safari, as an exploration, and creating field guides and citizen scientists who record nature and become aware of these interconnections is just one of the possibilities for the Expo Line “Safari”. This UCLA Extension Landscape Architecture program will work with students, naturalists, artists and metro riders to create an extraordinary experience of nature along the Los Angeles Metro Expo Line.

Upon implementation, the template could be applied to the other Metro lines: Gold (the Cornfields and LA River), Blue (Augustus F. Hawkins Park and LA Port), etc., creating a network of nature and transportation opportunities.

Whom will your project benefit?

EXPO Safari will benefit schools in Los Angeles, Culver City, and Santa Monica by providing a fun scientific expedition using public transportation and exposing these students to the natural process and nature in Los Angeles.

EXPO Safari will increase ridership along the EXPO line, by weaving the Natural History Museum, Gardens, Ballona Creek, into the Safari experience and engaging riders to explore areas along the route.

EXPO Safari will benefit the wildlife we share our space with, by creating an understanding of tree canopies, bird migration, the value of wildlife in our city.

EXPO Safari has the potential to create future botanists, biologists, zoologists, park rangers, hikers and a citizenry that is excited to explore outside the confines of a train, to see more of the world, to learn more and to experience nature.

EXPO Safari will benefit our Landscape Architecture students in understanding that design is a collaborative process.

Please identify any partners or collaborators who will work with you on this project.

LA County Natural History Museum's scientists and gardens create a synergy between the past and the present natural history of LA.

We will be working with Science teachers in the various schools along the route. Working together to create a curriculum that is vibrant with urban wildlife. Our Landscape Architecture program has worked with various schools in Los Angeles County on service projects and learning curriculum.

METRO is an essential partner in allowing signage and

Critical factors

In our past collaboration, success has depended on: 1) strong public outreach – on the ground level at the schools as well as at agencies; 2) clear understanding of timeline and abilities of students; 3) the ability to share our strengths and leverage partnerships and resources for students and our work.

How will your project impact the LA2050 CONNECT metrics?

Adults getting sufficient social & emotional support

Attendance at cultural events

Number of public transit riders

Total number of social media friends (Dream Metric)

Percentage of community college students completing a certificate, degree, or transfer-related program in six years

Please elaborate on how your project will impact the above metrics.

Public transportation becomes more than a "ride" by becoming an "adventure". The EXPO Safari is a cultural event, and will celebrate migration of birds, seasons of the year, and create a Facebook page that connects Angelenos to nature and each other.

Students in UCLA Extension Program receive a certificate that meets the education requirement to sit for licensure in the state of California.

Please explain how you will evaluate your project.

Through our FIeld Guide, and Facbook page we will be able to track individual activity an reach.

We will provide evaluations for digital app and feedback so that we can monitor the free downloads and implement suggestions or improvements.

Through the school downloads, we will follow up at the end of the school year to gather information on the success and suggestions on improvements and other features.

What two lessons have informed your solution or project?

Students who use multi media are not aware of nature. Using digital media we will create a digital program to engage our digital students in the nature of Los Angeles.

Much of the natural beauty of LA is undiscovered. Providing views and stories into other layers of LA through a mobile application and interpretive graphics at the Metro stations and on trains, and digital venues will create a better understanding and awareness of nature.

This model of success is fully documented in SAFARI 7, which was implemented in New York on the Queens Line #7. We are basing our templates on this successful model of education on transit through mobile apps and graphic displays.

Explain how implementing your project within the next twelve months is an achievable goal.

The UCLA Extension Landscape Architecture Program recently completed the Green Alleys Project with Jefferson High School students, and have worked with the County of Los Angeles Department of Parks and Recreation on their regional park master plan. We recently completed working with the City of LA Bureau of Sanitation on applying and creating low impact development solutions along the Tujunga Wash, to reduce TMDL’s at tributaries to reduce the cumulative pollutants at confluences. All these projects were done within the timeframe of a quarter class.

Our independent study class will cover three quarters and include our landscape architecture, design graphics, and interior design students working with LAUSD students, teachers and scientists.

Metro grants are available to incorporate arts and sciences and we are in the process of applying as a match.

The UCLA Extension Landscape Architecture Program has met all deliverables and timelines within the last 4 years of service project classes.

Please list at least two major barriers/challenges you anticipate. What is your strategy for ensuring a successful implementation?

1. Class participants vary in skills, knowledge and learning levels. We will provide outside assistance in areas where we have the need. This also provide more learning opportunities to our students and to LAUSD students and the community.

2. Funding. We have been seeking funding for this endeavor over this year, but the EXPO Safari covers a broad area and LA2050 actually encourages the broad reach of this service project, thus providing funds for a regional nature experience.